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October 30th

ATFP News Roundup October 24, 2016


Israeli authorities ordered settlers to stop construction on a new illegal outpost in the Jordan valley district of Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank, according Israeli authorities. (Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Turkey on Sunday for a three-day diplomatic visit. (Ma'an)

Israeli military police opened an internal probe on Friday into the killing of 15-year-old Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Thursday in Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank, after soldiers claimed he was among a group of youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. (Ma'an)

Spokesperson for the Jerusalem office of the Fatah movement Raafat Elayyan was removed from office on Saturday, soon after Fatah discharged one of its senior leaders and lawmakers, Jihad Tummaleh. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

right-wing member of the Knesset called for revoking the citizenship of Hagai El-Ad, the director of Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, in response to El-Ad’s recent criticism of Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory before the United Nations Security Council. (Ma'an)

nonpartisan Palestinian group known as Patriots to End Disagreement and Restore National Unity organized rallies in Gaza City and Ramallah on Saturday, to urge political rivals Fatah and Hamas to put an end to their disputes. (Ma'an)

Four Palestinians arrested late last week for attending a sukkot holiday event in a West Bank settlement were freed on Sunday evening, Channel 2 News reported. (Times of Israel)

Jubbet adh Dhib, in the Israeli-controlled West Bank, has been waiting for electricity for nearly three decades. (Washington Post)

The head of the United Nations cultural agency continued to distance herself from resolutions that deny Jewish ties to Jerusalem holy sites, as another agency committee prepares to vote on a similar measure. (JTA)

The Israeli minister of culture and sports wants nothing less than an overthrow of the nation’s elite. (New York Times)

The White House is proposing the federal government add an ethnic category for people of Middle Eastern and North African descent to the US census form. (Times of Israel)

The battle for control of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo intensified on Sunday with air strikes, ground offensives and shelling, the morning after a resurgence in fighting ended a Russian ceasefire, a monitor and rebel groups said. (Reuters)

Kurdish fighters said they had taken the town of Bashiqa near Mosul from Islamic State on Sunday as coalition forces pressed their offensive against the jihadists' last stronghold in Iraq.  (Reuters)

New details from a U.S. military investigation into Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan's death in Iraq are illustrating the twin risks of a bomb-ridden battlefield and shifting front lines in the campaign to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State. (Reuters)

Dozens of extra analysts have been dispatched to Iraq to pore over data that could offer insight into the group’s operations and future terror plots. (New York Times)

An inquiry barred the owners of a Russian airline from United Nations business, but they won a World Food Program contract to airdrop food aid in Syria. (New York Times)

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said on Sunday the door to electing a president was "wide open" and his members of parliament would vote for ally Michel Aoun at a parliamentary session at the end of October. (Reuters)

cartoon which appeared on social media shows a drowning Egyptian, only his hand protruding from the depths, waving for help. The next strips show President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi diving in, taking the drowning man's watch and turning away. (Reuters)

Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition attacked targets in Sanaa at dawn on Sunday, hours after a three-day truce in Yemen's war expired, residents in the capital said. (Reuters)


Lara Friedman says her UN Speech reflected her love for Israel but the truth about settlements. (Ha'aretz)

Uri Savir says Palestinians are following up on the possibility of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak returning to politics, while Israelis are following up on moves by exiled former Palestinian Security Chief Gen. Mohammed Dahlan. (Al-Monitor)

Asmaa al-Ghoul says civil society institutions in Palestine, which are in charge of documenting violations and providing aid for development projects, have recently come under criticism for failing to rid the Palestinians from the oppressive Hamas and Fatah regimes. (Al-Monitor)

Mazal Mualem says many Israeli politicians chose to ignore the March of Hope for fear of being branded "leftist," although participants spanned the spectrum. (Al-Monitor)

Zeruya Shalev says it looked like a mirage in the heart of the boiling desert, but the Israeli and Palestinian women who came together to wage peace are reclaiming the right to hope. (Ynet)

Adnan Abu Amer says Palestinians feel that Arab official circles are neglecting their cause, as the Israeli narrative is increasingly promoted in schoolbooks. (Al-Monitor)

Mohammed Othman says the Palestinian Cultural Palace, a cultural center created by a youth group in the Gaza Strip and aimed to preserve the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people, may not be able to flourish in light of the lack of government financial support. (Al-Monitor)

John Allen and Charles Lister says the U.S. must bring Syria’s Assad and his backers to account now. (Washington Post)

Omar Shaaban explains life under siege in Syria. (Washington Post)

Hassan Hassan looks at the challenges faced by the forces and the US in Mosul. (The National)

ATFP News Roundup October 25, 2016


Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip denounced remarks made by Israeli DM Liebermanduring a rare interview with Palestinian newspaper al-Quds on Monday, calling the ultra right-wing minister's conditional offer to ease the blockade "blackmail." (Ma'an/Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

UNRWA said that 242 refugee families in the Gaza Strip received more than $1.7 million in aid for reconstruction and repair works. (Ma'an)

member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, was killed in Gaza on Monday after an underground tunnel collapsed on him. (Ma'an/Times of Israel)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Monday in an ongoing effort to improve Turkish-Palestinian relations. (Ma'an)

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip late on Sunday night after two weeks of discontinuous openings to let travelers in and out of the besieged Palestinian territory. (Ma'an)

Islamic State expanded its attacks on Monday against the army and Kurdish forces across Iraq, trying to relieve pressure on the militant group's defenses around Mosul, its last major urban stronghold in the country. (Reuters)

Turkish artillery fire has already played a role in the effort to drive Islamic State from the Iraqi city of Mosul and four Turkish fighter jets are on standby to take part in air operations, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday. (Reuters)

Syrian refugee children have been working in factories in Turkey making clothes for British high street retailer Marks & Spencer and online store ASOS, an investigation by BBC Panorama found. (Reuters)

Lebanon's parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, believes that even if Michel Aoun is elected president next week after a vacancy of more than two years forming a government will take from five to six months, he was quoted as saying in a newspaper on Monday. (Reuters)

The next president faces problems more daunting than any in a generation, as the old order has given way to a kaleidoscopic mix of alliances, rivalries and overlapping crises. (New York Times)

Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, Former Emir of Qatar, dies at 84. (New York Times)


Ha'aretz says the occupation must end — that’s the flag that must unite Israel's opposition. (Ha'aretz)

Odeh Bisharat says "thank you, B'Tselem, for exposing the skeletons in Israel's closet. (Ha'aretz)

Shlomi Eldar says with new Israeli encroachment in the name of security and restrictions on the importation of chemicals and fertilizers, even more of Gaza's farmers are being forced to abandon their lands despite a near-total lack of other employment options. (Al-Monitor)

Ben Caspit says Russia has extended its presence in the region to such an extent that any IDF jet crossing the Israeli border in the north immediately appears on Russian military radar screens. (Al-Monitor)

Hassan Hassan says ISIS will retreat into the desert, just as it did in 2007. But can we stop it from re-emerging? (New York Times)

Josh Rogin asks if Hillary Clinton will deliver on her promise to ramp up U.S. involvement in Syria. (Washington Post)

Abdul Rahman Al Rashed says the battles of Mosul and Aleppo are just two other wars in a long struggle that will not stabilize without a fair political project. (Al Arabiya)

ATFP News Roundup October 26, 2016


group of U.S. senators and congressmen have called on a UNESCO committee to vote against a second resolution that diminishes Jewish and Christian ties to the Old City of Jerusalem. (JTA)

petition urging the nullification of the recent UNESCO resolution, which strongly condemned Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, was submitted on Tuesday to the organization’s director-general by a group of Israeli organizations. (Ma'an)

Without providing prior warning or an explanation to Ramallah, Saudi Arabia has been holding back financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian Authority for over six months, senior PA officials say. (Times of Israel)

International Relations Commissioner for the Fatah movement Nabil Shaath called on Palestinians to begin a full-fledged consumer boycott of Israel in an interview with The Arab Weekly on Tuesday. (Ma'an)

leading Palestinian daily came under intense criticism Tuesday from its media peers for “normalization” with Israel — a harsh charge among Palestinians — after it published a full-page interview with Israeli DM Liberman. (Times of Israel)

Intense clashes erupted in three refugee camps Tuesday night between Palestinian youths and Palestinian Authority security forces, after a protest over the recent expulsion from the Fatah party of a Palestinian lawmaker was suppressed. (Times of Israel)

The Israeli national theater, Habima, will perform in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, sparking protests on social media by academics and artists. (JTA)

Israeli artists, academics protest national theater performance in West Bank settlement. (Ha'aretz)

Ongoing protests in the occupied Palestinian territory and around the world have demanded the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, a Lebanese militant for Palestinian resistance who has been imprisoned by France for more than 32 years. (Ma'an)

An Israeli internal army investigation into recent incidents of Israeli soldiers killing or severely injuring Palestinians in the occupied West Bank revealed that the lives of Israeli soldiers were not at risk when 15-year-old Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr was shot to death after allegedly throwing a stone at a soldier. (Ma'an)

The union for local employees of UNRWA announced on Tuesday that a series of protests would take place in the occupied Palestinian territory after talks with UNRWA reached an impasse. (Ma'an)

Britain and France pushed on Tuesday for the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Syrian government forces blamed for three gas attacks by an international inquiry as Syrian ally Russia said it was still studying the findings. (Reuters)

Russia said on Tuesday it would extend a moratorium on air strikes on Syria's Aleppo into a ninth day, but a monitor and a civil defense official said that rebel-held parts of the divided city had been struck in recent days. (Reuters)

An elite unit of the Iraqi army paused its week-long advance on Mosul as it approached the city's eastern edge on Tuesday, waiting for other U.S.-backed forces to close in on Islamic State's last major urban stronghold in Iraq. (Reuters)

The United States on Tuesday made its strongest indication yet that the battle to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State could be fast approaching, saying it would "overlap" with an already unfolding assault in Iraq to seize the city of Mosul. (Reuters)

The Islamic State is carrying out mass killings and using human shields. Refugees are being turned away over fears terrorist sleeper cells. Burning sulfur has sickened dozens. (New York Times)

The emaciated frame of 18-year-old Saida Ahmad Baghili lies on a hospital bed in the red sea port city of Hodaida, her suffering stark evidence of the malnutrition spread by Yemen's 19-month civil war. (Reuters)

An expanding military role and tough talk placate hard-liners even as Tehran welcomes Western investment and gradually extends new freedoms to Iranians. (New York Times)


Saeb Erekat says as long as Israel continues its settlements, a two-state solution is impossible. (Washington Post)

Adnan Abu Amer says Palestinian activists living abroad report being targeted for airing their criticisms on social media. (Al-Monitor)

Mohammed Othman says the conference on the Palestinian cause held in Ain Sokhna in Egypt stirred controversy among Fatah members supporting Palestinian Pres. Abbas and supporters of dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. (Al-Monitor)

Akiva Eldar says after the executive director of Israeli human rights group B'Tselem spoke out against settlements before the UN Security Council, the resulting criticism took issue only with his call for international intervention to advance peace. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says actor George Ibrahim appeared at the Acre Fringe Theater Festival almost 30 years after leaving the Israeli art scene and establishing the Al-Kasaba Ramallah Theater. (Al-Monitor)

Stephen Blackwell looks at the possible consequences of a collapse of ISIL in Iraq and Syria. (The National)

Cole Bunzel says the caliphate’s propagandists are digging through the Quran to prove that getting beaten back in Mosul doesn’t stray from the preordained plan. (Foreign Policy)

The New York Times says President Erdogan wants a direct role in the battle against ISIS, but his real priority seems to be defeating Kurdish separatists. (New York Times)

Joyce Karam says the Aoun-Hariri deal is a pact for power and survival by both leaders and a statement of the shifting realpolitik alliances in Lebanon. (Al Arabiya)

ATFP News Roundup October 27, 2016


new version of a UNESCO resolution that strongly condemned Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinians territory was approved on Wednesday after widespread uproar from Israel. (Ma'an)

Israel is recalling its ambassador to UNESCO to Jerusalem for consultations in the wake of the adoption of a second resolution that denies Jewish ties to Jerusalem holy sites. (JTA/Times of Israel)

Trump administration will never pressure Israel into a two-state solution or any other solution that is against the will of the Israeli people,' the GOP candidate's Israel adviser tells rally. (Ha'aretz)

Prosecutors in Israel on Wednesday charged 13 people with inciting violence and terrorism after a wedding video showed far-right Jews dancing with guns and knives and guests mocking the death by arson of a Palestinian toddler. (Reuters/JTA)

Two Israeli security guards will not face charges for shooting dead a Palestinian woman brandishing a knife and her brother, the Justice Ministry said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced a Palestinian on Wednesday to 17 years in prison for carrying out a stabbing attack in 2015 in which an Israeli soldier was moderately injured. (Ma'an)

Israeli-enforced demolitions in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Silwan on Wednesday left at least 44 Palestinians homeless. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian Authority's preventive security service arrested former spokesperson for the Jerusalem office of the Fatah movement on Tuesday night, shortly after he gave a televised interview commenting on his removal from office days earlier. (Ma'an)

The Israeli military said an Israeli soldier was wounded on Wednesday by shots fired from a vehicle traveling in Lebanon along a border fence, and troops returned fire. (Reuters)

The board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America reportedly will be asked to decide whether to allow its missions to Israel to visit Jewish settlements in the West Bank. (JTA)

United Nations aid chief Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council on Wednesday that the "buck stops with you" when it comes to ending the nearly six year war in Syria and he is "incandescent with rage" that no action is being taken to do so. (Reuters)

Air strikes by Syrian or Russian warplanes on Wednesday killed at least 26 people, most of them schoolchildren, in a village in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, rescue workers and a monitoring group said. (Reuters)

The warships were en route to the Mediterranean to bolster the bombing campaign against the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. (New York Times)

Islamic State militants have in recent days executed dozens of prisoners taken from villages the group has been forced to abandon by an Iraqi army advance on the city of Mosul. (Reuters)

The United States has begun using a Tunisian air base to conduct surveillance drone operations inside Libya, the latest expansion of its campaign against Islamic State militants in North Africa. (Reuters)


Ben Caspit says Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman granted the Palestinian newspaper al-Quds an interview in an attempt to reach out to the Palestinian public while bypassing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Al-Monitor)

Moath al-Amoudi says while some Palestinian politicos discuss creating a vice presidential position appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a transitional safeguard, others complain that the next in line to lead must be elected. (Al-Monitor)

Ari Shavit lookss at Pres. Barack Obama’s 70-day dilemma. (Ha'aretz)

Ahmad Melhem says more Palestinian women are marrying prisoners serving life sentences in Israeli jails in what they see as an act of patriotism. (Al-Monitor)

Arad Nir says neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are particularly enthusiastic about implementing the reconciliation agreement between the two countries. (Al-Monitor)

Amira Hass says a look at a West Bank checkpoint 'that provides the Jews land and rights that it deprives the Palestinians of, a violence of the overlord that is intravenously fed into the veins of every Israeli.' (Ha'aretz)

David Ignatius says the U.S. pattern of recruiting local forces, then abandoning them, is at play again with the Kurdish militia fighting the Islamic State. (Washington Post)

Daniel Byman says the Islamic State is failing everywhere, except, apparently, in American politics. (Washington Post)

ATFP News Roundup October 28, 2016


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held a rare meeting with the heads of rival party Hamas in Qatar on Thursday, in direct talks aimed at ending years of hostility between the two movements. (Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

The security cabinet reportedly approved a series of Palestinian building plans in Area C in the West Bank, in a vote that was held in secret in order not to anger settlers and right-wing activists. (Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

A slew of Palestinian officials accused Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman of sowing strife among Palestinians, while trying to dethrone PA President Mahmoud Abbas by boosting his rivals. (Times of Israel)

President Reuven Rivlin of Israel visited the family of the 15-year-old boy who was killed by shots fired on the Israel-Egypt border. (JTA)

An Israeli court dropped charges on Wednesday against two Israeli security guards who shot and killed two Palestinian siblings at a checkpoint in April, ruling that there was not sufficient evidence that they had acted improperly. (Ma'an)

The state of Israel has postponed this week its decision regarding the fate of a primary school in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank, which has been threatened with demolition by the Israeli government for years. (Ma'an)

Several Palestinian youths were injured when Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas during clashes near the Shufat refugee camp in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem. (Ma'an)

Israeli authorities temporarily decreased the number of trucks of goods allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip through the Karam Abu Salem crossing on Thursday. (Ma'an)

On a rooftop overlooking the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, around 200 American-Israeli fans of Donald Trump gathered to proclaim their support for the Republican candidate, convinced he will be Israel's best friend if elected. (Reuters)

Experts question legality of non-American donations to Israeli GOP group. (Ha'aretz)

U.S. prosecutors on Thursday said two men from Syria and Turkey have been extradited to face criminal charges that they tried to sell military-grade weapons to purported Mexican drug traffickers to help them ship cocaine to the United States. (Reuters)

Syria should investigate accusations that government forces carried out chlorine gas attacks and Islamic State militants used mustard gas, Russia said on Thursday, dimming Western hopes that U.N. sanctions could be imposed on those responsible. (Reuters)

The Iraqi army was trying on Thursday to reach a town south of Mosul where Islamic State has reportedly executed dozens to deter the population against any attempt to support the U.S.-led offensive on the jihadists' last major city stronghold in Iraq. (Reuters)

When Kurdish fighters cleared Islamic State from the northern Iraqi village of Fadiliya, some residents celebrated by passing around cigarettes - an act that would have earned them a public whipping under the group's reign of terror. (Reuters)

The European Parliament awarded Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar its top human rights prize. (New York Times)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi promised on Thursday to amend a law that human rights groups say has severely restricted protest rights and hinted at possible pardons for young people imprisoned without conviction. (Reuters)

U.N. peace proposal to end a 19-month war in Yemen appears aimed at sidelining exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and setting up a government of less divisive figures, according to a copy seen by Reuters. (Reuters)


Charles Krauthammer says President Obama could try to force a two-state solution before he leaves office. (Washington Post)

Ahmad Melhem says a Japanese-funded project to protect and exhibit the largest mosaic floor in the Middle East, an ancient creation dating back to the Umayyad period, promises to protect this treasure of Palestinian heritage and attract thousands more visitors to Jericho. (Al-Monitor)

Adnan Abu Amer says Hamas carried out a ministerial reshuffle in the Gaza Strip, claiming to pump new blood into the ministries as the consensus government has failed to meet its responsibilities toward Gaza. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar say Israeli physicians say that many cancer patients from the Gaza Strip are banned from entering Israel, and so they are hospitalized in Gaza where there is no adequate medical treatment. (Al-Monitor)

Mathew Reed says the United States has dramatically stepped up attacks on the caliphate’s oil production. But to win this battle, it’s going to have to go scorched earth. (Foreign Policy)

October 21st

ATFP News Roundup October 21, 2016


U.S. and Egypt warn Palestinians not to push Security Council on settlements before U.S. elections. (Ha'aretz)

President Abbas is pushing for leadership elections in his Fatah movement and the PLO before the end of the year, as part of what senior officials say is largely an elaborate attempt to block the return of an exiled rival backed by several Arab states. (Times of Israel)

Israeli troops on Thursday shot dead a Palestinian whom they suspected had thrown rocks at them as they patrolled a main West Bank road, the military said. (Reuters/Ma'an/Ha'aretz)

video posted on social media on Thursday reportedly showed moments when a young Palestinian woman was shot to death by Israeli forces a day earlier. (Ma'an)

Gaza court sentenced a man to death by hanging after he was convicted of premeditated murder, while another man was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the besieged enclave for collaborating with Israel. (Ma'an)

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement said that its military wing had completed the construction of a watchtower in the besieged Gaza Strip. (Ma'an)

Israel arrested an Arab couple who returned to the country after allegedly joining the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. (JTA)

Three Palestinians who accepted an invitation to the sukkah of the head of a West Bank settlement were summoned by Palestinian Authority intelligence on Thursday to explain why they had visited “murderers of babies.” (Times of Israel)

The Syrian military said on Thursday a unilateral ceasefire backed by Russia had come into force to allow people to leave besieged eastern Aleppo, a move rejected by rebels who say they are preparing a counter-offensive to break the blockade. (Reuters)

Turkish air strikes pounded a group of Kurdish fighters allied to a U.S.-backed militia in northern Syria overnight, highlighting the conflicting agendas of NATO members Ankara and Washington in an increasingly complex battlefield. (Reuters)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pushed on Thursday for the 193-member General Assembly to hold a rare emergency special session on Syria since a deadlocked Security Council has failed to take action to end the nearly six-year war. (Reuters)

After Moscow instituted a brief cease-fire, many said leaving the besieged Syrian city could still be more dangerous than staying and exposing themselves to continued airstrikes. (New York Times)

The offensive to seize back Mosul from Islamic State is going faster than planned, Iraq's prime minister said on Thursday, as Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched a new military operation to clear villages on the city's outskirts. (Reuters)

If the recaptures of Ramadi, Tikrit and Falluja are a guide, Iraqi officials will confront devastation and unexploded bombs once Mosul is reclaimed. (New York Times)

Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen violated international humanitarian law with a so-called "double tap" air strike on a funeral gathering in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, United Nations sanctions monitors told the Security Council. (Reuters)

Shortages of sugar, a staple of the national diet, and of other products have led to brewing anger against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (New York Times)


Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu prefers to ignore the fact that from a diplomatic-international standpoint, the Jewish holy sites in the Old City are under occupation. (Al-Monitor)

Cnaan Liphshiz says with the UNESCO vote, Palestinians’ bid for attention backfires. (JTA)

Aziza Nofal says sixty percent of Palestinian lands in the West Bank risk confiscation by Israeli authorities under the absentee property and abandoned lands laws, which some Palestinian activists say were issued with the aim to expand Israeli settlements. (Al-Monitor)

Fareed Zakaria looks at why Trump’s ‘sneak attacks’ won’t defeat the Islamic State. (Washington Post)

Alan Philps reviews the recent events in Syria and Iraq. (The National)

Ariane Tabatabai says U.S.-Iran relations shouldn’t take place only at the highest levels. (New York Times)


Simon Henderson says the only way to solve Yemen's war, and beat back its al-Qaeda franchise, is to dissolve the country entirely. (Foreign Policy)

October 20th

ATFP News Roundup October 20, 2016



Israeli PM Netanyahu expressed concern that U.S. President Barack Obama, during the final days of his term in office, might take diplomatic steps that could harm the fate of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. (Reuters/Times of Israel/Ha'aretz)

Palestinians urged the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to adopt a resolution with serious measures to compel Israel to halt all settlement activities and threatening “consequences” if it refuses. (Times of Israel)

Israel, U.S. spar at UN Security Council after Danny Danon calls on UN to stop funding human rights organization B'Tselem. (Ha'aretz)

growing movement of Israeli women says that now is the time to restart the peace process. (Washington Post/Times of Israel)

Israeli authorities revoked Israeli-issued exit permits for 12 senior officials in the Gaza Strip’s Civil Affairs Administration on Wednesday. (Ma'an)

Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian woman at the Zaatara military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Wednesday after she allegedly attempted to stab Israeli border police. (Ma'an)

A spokesperson for the Hamas' military wing said on Tuesday that Israel would be made to release Palestinian prisoners as part of a future deal, during a speech commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Gilad Shalit deal. (Ma'an)

Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip in both directions to permit the crossing of humanitarian cases just a few days following the crossing's opening on Saturday. (Ma'an)

Pres. Hollande said on Wednesday he would do everything possible to try to extend a ceasefire in eastern Aleppo when he discusses Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this evening. (Reuters)

Two months after driving Islamic State from this Syrian border town, the young rebel fighters patrolling its streets nurse an ambition beyond the aims of their Turkish backers: to break the siege of Aleppo. (Reuters)

Russian warships off the coast of Norway are carrying fighter bombers that are likely to reinforce a final assault on the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo in two weeks, a senior NATO diplomat said on Wednesday, citing Western intelligence. (Reuters)

U.N.-mediated truce to the war in Yemen went into effect a minute before midnight on Wednesday, hours after Saudi-led air strikes hit military bases in the capital Sanaa and rival militias battled near the border with the kingdom. (Reuters)

Egypt's highest court on Wednesday quashed death sentences imposed on 14 Islamists over an attack on a police station in protest at the military's overthrow in 2013 of then-President Mohamed Mursi, the state news agency MENA said. (Reuters)


Marian Houk says Dr. Mustafa Barghouti wants to see agreement between Fatah and Hamas and local elections held in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. (Al-Monitor)

Akiva Eldar says PM Netanyahu prefers to ignore the fact that from a diplomatic-international standpoint, the Jewish holy sites in the Old City are under occupation. (Al-Monitor)

Ahmad Abu Amer says the Ministry of Local Governance has suggested the formation of local elections courts to prevent the Courts of First Instance from ruling on cases related to local elections. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says human rights nongovernmental organizations are confronted by an increasingly difficult battle over Israeli public opinion, which often considers them illegitimate or hostile as they criticize the elected government. (Al-Monitor)

Amira Hass says even if 100,000 Gazans receive exit permits, the Strip would remain a huge prison. (Ha'aretz)

Steven Cohen says an 'out-of-touch' rightist Israeli government further embedding the settlements and disdaining non-Orthodox Judaism? According to Pew, they faithfully reflect the will of the people. (Ha'aretz)

Michael Young says Michel Aoun may soon be endorsed as Lebanon's president – but there is one serious obstacle in his path. (The National)

ATFP News Roundup October 19, 2016


The executive board of the United Nations cultural agency voted to adopt a controversialresolution that denies a Jewish connection to the Old City of Jerusalem. (JTA/Ma'an/Times of Israel)

Mexico has fired its ambassador to UNESCO, Andre Roemer, who is Jewish, for protesting against his country’s decision to vote for a resolution denying Jewish ties to Jerusalem. (JTA)

Asked about punitive action initiated by Israeli PM Netanyahu against B’Tselem, a human rights watchdog, the Obama administration said it is “troubled by instances anywhere in the world” where civil society is threatened. (JTA/Ma'an)

The European Union sent a public message of support to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem Tuesday, amid anger in Israel over a speech by the organization’s director to the United Nations Security Council criticizing Israeli settlement policy last week. (Times of Israel)

The “overwhelming majority” of Palestinian minors held in Israel’s Megiddo and Ofer prisons have been tortured during their detention and interrogation, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said Tuesday. (Ma'an)

The Egyptian army reportedly killed 19 gunmen believed to be affiliated to the Sinai Province group, after airstrikes hit more than 30 of the group’s bunkers and hideouts on Mondayafternoon. (Ma'an)

The Syrian army and its allies see a risk that Islamic State will regroup in eastern Syria as it is forced from the Iraqi city of Mosul in a U.S.-backed operation, posing new risks for President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters)

The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session on the worsening situation in the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo on Friday after a formal request from Britain, a United Nations statement said. (Reuters)

The United Nations said that Russia's plan for a ceasefire will not mean any supplies get into besieged eastern Aleppo because Russia, Syria and other groups fighting in the city have not yet given guarantees of safety for aid workers. (Reuters)

The International Committee of the Red Cross appealed to all sides including Islamic State on Tuesday to show humanity on the battlefield and spare civilians in the Iraqi city of Mosul as government forces close in to re-take the city of 1.5 million. (Reuters)

After losses in Syria and Iraq, ISIS moves the goal posts. (New York Times)

Yemen's Houthi-run administration welcomed a 72-hour ceasefire starting on Wednesday intended to allow aid to reach areas cut off by months of fighting and in dire humanitarian need. (Reuters)

Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose public flogging in the kingdom in 2015 generated global outcry, now risks a new round of lashes, a co-founder of a Canadian foundation advocating for his release said on Tuesday. (Reuters)


The New York Times looks at why Mosul is critical in the battle against ISIS. (New York Times)

Joyce Karam says the real hard battle for Mosul will be in charting its political course after the military operations. (Al Arabiya)

Abdul Rahman Al Rashed says the continuity of the war in Yemen only suits the strategy of Iran...but it does not suit Oman. (Al Arabiya)

October 18th

ATFP News Roundup October 18, 2016


Victims of an Israeli raid that killed 10 people in 2010 on an aid flotilla fear a Turkish court is set to halt a case brought by them because of a deal to restore ties between Israel and Turkey, a lawyer representing the victims said on Monday. (Reuters)

A fierce exchange between the government and the human rights group B’Tselem has touched on arguments over patriotism and the character of Israel. (New York Times)

Israeli PM Netanyahu said he will act to amend the country’s national service law so that young Israelis will no longer be able to serve at B’Tselem. (JTA/Ha'aretz)

The governing body of international soccer, FIFA, did not reach a decision on preventing Israeli teams from playing in West Bank settlements. (JTA)

Greece’s ruling left-wing Syriza party called for the Greek government to recognize the state of Palestine at the party’s second congress held in Athens, after months of delay in implementing a Greek parliament decision to recognize Palestine. (Ma'an)

The Supreme Military Court in the Gaza Strip sentenced a 54-year-old man to death by hanging on Monday after he was accused of collaborating with Israel, according to a statement released by the court. (Ma'an)

UNESCO chief Irina Bokova has received “death threats” after expressing reservations about an Arab-backed resolution denying Israel’s history in Jerusalem, Israel’s ambassador to the UN agency said on Monday. (Times of Israel)

The director of operations for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, Bo Schack, warned on Monday of what he described as increasing desperation, frustration, and the absence of opportunities in the besieged coastal enclave. (Ma'an)

Defying political pressure, Israeli Arab rapper to perform at festival, despite culture minister's opposition. (Ha'aretz)

At least five Palestinian minors have been imprisoned by Israel without being charged in recent months, for Facebook posts that Israeli authorities alleged amounted to “incitement” to commit violence. (Ma'an)

The European Union on Monday condemned Russia's air campaign in Syria, saying it may be guilty of war crimes, and it vowed to impose more sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad's government. (Reuters)

Fourteen members of one family were killed in an air strike in rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Monday, emergency service workers said, as the Syrian government pursued its drive to capture opposition-held areas of the city. (Reuters)

Russian and Syrian forces will pause their offensive on Oct. 20 to allow civilians and rebels to leave the city and to provide humanitarian relief, a Russian military official said. (New York Times)

Iraqi government forces launched a U.S.-backed offensive on Monday to drive Islamic State from the northern city of Mosul, a high-stakes battle to retake the militants' last major stronghold in the country. (Reuters)

Shi'ite irregulars will help storm a smaller city in northern Iraq while government troops launch their upcoming offensive against Islamic State's biggest stronghold Mosul, raising fears among Iraqi officials and aid workers of sectarian retribution. (Reuters)

72-hour ceasefire in Yemen is due to start on Wednesday night, the U.N. envoy for Yemen said on Monday after he received commitments from all of the country's warring factions. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia is prepared to agree to a ceasefire in Yemen if the Iran-allied Houthis agree, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Monday, adding that he was skeptical about efforts for peace after previous ceasefire attempts had failed. (Reuters)

The Pentagon declined to say on Monday whether the USS Mason destroyer was targeted by multiple inbound missiles fired from Yemen on Saturday, as initially thought, saying a review was under way to determine what happened. (Reuters)


Hagai El-Ad explains why he spoke against the occupation at the UN. (Ha'aretz)

Shmuel Rosner says with the United States abdicating its leadership role, Netanyahu has to play along with Russian plans for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. (New York Times)

Uri Savir says both Israelis and Palestinians object to a diplomatic move by US President Barack Obama: the Palestinians object to a presidential speech, while the Israelis object to a UN General Assembly resolution. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says the arrest of a Palestinian government employee critical of President Mahmoud Abbas is indicative of the constraints on freedom of expression that Palestinian journalists face. (Al-Monitor)

Adnan Abu Amer says Jordan is boosting its strategic ties with Israel based on their mutual economic interests, while Palestinians sound the alarm against normalization of relations with their enemy. (Al-Monitor)

Josh Rogin says the Obama administration is debating the wisdom of rushing to retake Raqqa. (Washington Post)

Michael Knights says Mosul is going to embrace the United States as liberator. (Fpreign Policy)

Faisal Al Yafai says taking Mosul back from ISIL will be hard, but winning the peace will be harder still. (The National)

Hassan Hassan explains why the fight against ISIL in Iraq is critical for the region. (The National)


Andrew Bowen says Yemen’s challenges are not purely a problem from the Kingdom, but for both the broader region and the US. The commentary that Washington faces a moral dilemma in Yemen for supporting the GCC intervention is a distraction from the real issues. (Al Arabiya)

October 14th

ATFP News Roundup October 14, 2016


Israeli President Rivlin hosts a quiet meeting of Muslim and Jewish leaders. (New York Times)

The Palestinian Authority welcomes the passing of a UNESCO resolution that sharply criticizes Israeli policies. (Ma'an\Times of Israel)

The United States, Israeli officials and Jewish groups reacted with outrage to a preliminary vote by the United Nations cultural agency that denies a Jewish connection to the Old City of Jerusalem. (JTA\Ha'aretz)

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel would suspend its cooperation with UNESCO, because of the UN agency’s decision to ignore Jewish ties to holy sites in Jerusalem. (JTA\Times of Israel)

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov expressed concerns over the situation in Gaza, and urged Israel to understand that its policies on the besieged enclave only “escalates violence.” (Ma'an)

Anti-occupation groups Americans for Peace Now, B'Tselem to address UN Security Council session on settlements. (Ha'aretz)

DIY submachine guns are popping up across the West Bank. (Washington Post)

The number of terrorist attacks perpetrated in Israel dropped in August to 93 — the lowest monthly tally on record since March 2015 and the first dip since then below the 100-incident mark. (JTA)

Israeli soldiers raided a “mourning tent” dedicated to Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was killed by Israeli forces Sunday after carrying out a deadly shooting attack in occupied East Jerusalem, in the the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. (Ma'an)

Egyptian authorities decided to open the Rafah crossing on both sides this week on Saturdayand Sunday. (Ma'an)

Islamic State has crushed a rebellion plot in Mosul, led by one of the group's commanders who aimed to switch sides and help deliver the caliphate's Iraqi capital to government forces, residents and Iraqi security officials said. (Reuters)

Forces trained by the Turkish military at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq will take part in the planned operation to drive Islamic State out of the city of Mosul, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Friday. (Reuters)

Syria's Pres. Assad said that the Syrian army's capture of Aleppo, which has come under renewed bombardment in an effort to seize its rebel-held sector, would be "a very important springboard" to pushing "terrorists" back to Turkey. (Reuters)

At least 20 people, mostly Syrian rebel fighters, were killed after a car bomb exploded on Thursday near a checkpoint close to the Bab al Salama crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in northern Syria, two witnesses said. (Reuters)

In Aleppo, a drone video reveals a destruction so complete that it obliterates even a sense of time. (New York Times)

Yemen sees U.S. strikes as evidence of hidden hand behind Saudi air war. (New York Times)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi denied on Thursday Ethiopian accusations that his country was supporting the opposition after a wave of violent protests that left hundreds dead. (Reuters)

Turkey could hold a referendum on changing the constitution and introducing a presidential system before the spring, its justice minister said on Friday, days after the government revived plans that would hand incumbent Tayyip Erdogan greater powers. (Reuters)


Akiva Eldar says new data shows that the settlements in the West Bank are not an irreversible situation, and that most of the population growth in settlements is due to births — not immigration of Israelis into the settlements. (Al-Monitor)

Ahmad Melhem says Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' attendance at the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres has angered the Palestinian public and political factions, increasing the chance of violence in the streets. (Al-Monitor)

Shlomi Eldar says when the wave of Palestinian violence broke out, most of the assailants were youngsters who believed that their acts would bring closer Palestinian statehood; but recent attacks seem motivated largely by religious beliefs. (Al-Monitor)

Raphael Ahren says outrageous as it may be, UNESCO’s Jerusalem vote has a silver lining. (Times of Israel)

Shlomo Sand says all those who don’t understand why it was so difficult for the Palestinian-Israelis’ political representatives to show their final respects to Shimon Peres, should recall Arafat’s funeral and the 'respect' shown him by the Israelis. (Ha'aretz)

Abdul Rahman Al Rashed says France is playing a key role in the Syrian conflict at a time when most countries have preferred to avoid confrontation. (The National)

Anna Lekas Miller writes that the Left can’t afford to ignore the facts on the ground in Aleppo. (The National)

Michael T. Klare says “take the oil” isn’t just an applause line — it’s a policy that has been discussed in Washington for decades. (Foreign Policy)

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